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Self-Storage Proposal Could End Bitter Land Saga in Tamarac, FL

Update 12/12/18 – Tamarac, Fla., officials will hear the first reading today for the self-storage facility proposed by RISP. The city commission will consider whether to rezone the property at 5602 N. Rock Island Road from medium-high residential to commercial, according to a source.

Leigh R. Kerr, president of planning firm Leigh Robinson Kerr & Associates Inc., will represent the developer at the meeting.

A site plan will be submitted at a later date. If approved, the facility will comprise 125,395 square feet.

Based in Boca Raton, Fla., RISP is managed by Ric Newman, principal of Newman Realty Partners, a real estate development firm that specializes in mixed-use, office, retail shopping centers and self-storage.

A controversial property embroiled in litigation between Tamarac, Fla., officials and real estate developer Bruce Chait could become a self-storage facility as part of a compromise. Pending city approval, the 2-acre lot at the corner of Commercial Boulevard and Rock Island Road is expected to be acquired by Rock Island Storage Partners (RISP) for $1.75 million, with the profit split between the city and Chait, according to the source.

The agreement is dependent on the land sale going through as well as the five-story self-storage project being approved by the development review committee and the city commission.

The bad blood stems from a housing project Chait proposed for a different site. Three commissioners involved in that proposal were accused of corruption, and Chait and his son were accused of buying votes from elected officials.

Chait testified in court that he expected support from Beth Flansbaum-Talabisco after he helped her become mayor of Tamarac in 2006 by attacking her opponents. He also told jurors he gave Patricia Atkins-Grad $7,300 to use for a down payment on a leased BMW and a victory party, and that he bought commissioner Marc Sultanof a $30,000 Honda Accord, the source reported.

Atkins-Grad and Flansbaum-Talabisco were both acquitted by juries. Though Sultanof was charged with six felonies in 2010, he died while awaiting trial. Chait served a four-year probation after pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful compensation, according to the source.

During discussions with the city about the housing project, Chait agreed to give the city the 2-acre lot to build a fire station. When the city decided to renovate an existing station elsewhere rather than build a new one on the site, Chait asked for the land back, arguing the city never took possession. When the city refused to turn over the land, he sued.

The land sale amounts to a settlement, which the city commission approved in June. The self-storage project is viewed favorably by city manager Michael Cernech for its design and low-impact use. “It’s nice to settle all the litigation [and] to have that chapter closed,” he told the source.

It’s not clear when the design review committee or the city commission will review the self-storage plan.

Sun Sentinel, Self-Storage Proposal Could Mean the End of Bitter Saga Over Tamarac Land
South Florida Business Journal, Self-Storage Facility Proposed on City-Owned Land in Broward

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